Ok, so I’ve never had much melanin, but..
Its time to stand up and say something, for all of us Melanin lacking people!! I’m tired of being quiet!
To all of You who were blessed with a thing called Melanin, please read this….
melanin [( mel -uh-nin)]
A dark brown coloring found in the body, especially in the skin and hair. Produced by special skin cells that are sensitive to sunlight, melanin protects the body by absorbing ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Note : The amount of melanin present in the skin determines the color of a person’s complexion: people with a large amount have dark skin, whereas those with very little have fair skin. Melanin is also responsible for tanning.
So basically when I was created, someone forgot to dump in a generous helping of melanin to my genetic makeup. My mother, God love the melanin hogging woman, can be outside for 5 minutes and her skin glows with her melanin doused genes. My father however, passed on every single bit of his melanin lacking genes to my sister and I. I don’t fault him, he didn’t have it to begin with. I blame mom for keeping so much for herself. (Don’t worry mom, I’ve since forgiven you!)
And before I begin the “awareness” part of this post, let me preface it by saying I’m not a terribly vain person. Yes I do bathe, and I do like to look nice, but thankfully, I don’t obsess over it, I am who I am, and I’m good with me.
Having said that, I must now venture on to the awareness part:
For some reason, people think its ok, when you’re pale, to make public statements about it. Its usually when in the company of more than one person, better yet, a group of people, when someone decides its ok to exclaim, “Dang, you’re pale, why don’t you tan more?” For some reason people don’t consider the rudeness of this type of statement before they speak. My theory is when they go in the sun Wha-la, they no longer look like the walking dead, so they ASS-U-ME I can do the same thing. Well guess what Einstein, I can’t.
Let me explain. First I’m going to repeat something from above:
Melanin is also responsible for tanning.
Its simple science, Melanin, or lack thereof, is responsible for my paleness.
When you make your ‘pale’ comments or ask things like, “Are you a recluse? Don’t you ever leave the house?” you are, possibly unknowingly, bringing back all of the teasing in grade school, all of the self conscious memories of youth like a speeding freight train, to the present. Just because you can go from pale, to a more tanned state with a little exposure to the sun, does not automatically mean all of us can.
Think for a minute about your most self conscious issue with your body. What is it? NOW imagine if I point out your most self conconsious issue in a group of people and go on and on about it. Get the idea? It is very hurtful. I am surprised almost daily, by the amount of people who don’t consider this.
Usually we all have something about ourselves we wish we could change and even if we’ve moved on, and in our wisdom & age accepted ourselves the way we are, whatever that issue was, that “thing” can still have stabbing effects on your psyche if someone points it out in a rude tone. So please remember this: Just because I’m pale as the moon does not mean I can help it.
Let me give you an example. I once joined a tanning salon, I would burn after 10 minutes, so I would go 8 minutes at a time, increasing the minutes a little at a time, 3 times a week, FOR 3 MONTHS. Oh I could tell a difference, every extremely pale person can tell when their skin shows an ever so slight, almost imperceptible glow! But after 3 months, and who knows how many minutes of my life, I would still be asked the same rude, pale questions.
Heres one more thought, if melanin protects you from the harmful effects of UV rays and a person has only a smidge of melanin, it not only means it would take 10 times as long to tan, but in the meantime, said person is 100 times more likely to get skin cancer than melanin blessed people. I have to say, in the long run, I think I’ll be glad I didn’t give in too many times to the pressure of others saying “why don’t you tan more?” Why expose myself to those dangers if, in the end, I’m the only one who could tell? I gave up fake baking to hopefully save my future self from suffering from skin cancer, call me silly!
So the next rude question is, why don’t you go spend your hard earned money on the tanning sprays? Let me tell you, I tried it once, before a trip to Florida where I was afraid people would really gawk. Once in the tube, I HATED to not be able to breathe. Yep, that’s right, You’re enclosed in a space age tube and you can’t breathe lest you inhale tanning chemicals. When the gusts of paint stop, you turn around, and still enclosed in an airtight tube, you can “breathe” for a few seconds before the next gust of paint starts, only, you still have these paint particles floating everywhere so you’re still inhaling them. Not my idea of a good time. Oh and the result of this paint torture? One of the sprayers was clogged! I kid you not. I had streaks down the back of my leg! Being the positive person I normally am, I am truely thankful it wasn’t the sprayer that covered the face!
Yep. That looked really nice!
I can definitely accept my situation & I see the humorous side.
Once, after watching the movie “Dances with Wolves” with my melanin blessed husband, G1, I decided to give us both American Indian names. I dubbed myself, “Glows in the Dark” and we laughed hysterically for a while. He still lovingly calls me by the name at times. I also volunteer myself as a guage for my friends to compare their tans to, because like I said earlier, I’m me, this is who I am.
It’s only when people ask previous stated pale questions with a tone in their voice that conveys they think you actually have a choice in the matter that it can come across as insulting. I find myself wanting to proclaim,
”I’m not an animal!!!”
So all I ask of you is to think before you speak when talking to us Melanin challenged people of this world.
We have feelings too.